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PM to open major Auckland public transport project

2 February 2008 Media Statement

PM to open major Auckland public transport project

EMBARGOED UNTIL 12.30AM

Prime Minister Helen Clark today opens the $300 million Northern Busway which is one of New Zealand’s largest ever public transport projects and which is forecast to take an estimated 2,400 cars off the Northern Motorway during peak periods when fully operational.

Helen Clark said that the project – which uses New Zealand’s first dedicated bus-only road – links the North Shore with central Auckland and is a critical part of the Labour-led Government’s push to get Auckland moving by creating an integrated and sustainable transport network.

“The government has increased investment in Auckland transport significantly since 1999 with spending of about $1 billion this year alone. This has meant many improvements to the state highway network in the region,” Helen Clark said.

“The government also knows that effective and comprehensive public transport services are essential to easing congestion and reducing carbon emissions from the transport sector.

“That is why we are spending $340 million on public transport in Auckland this year. Nationally over the next five years, $2.5 billion will be invested in public transport and will include huge investments in the Auckland and Wellington rail networks.

“The Northern Busway, to which the government has contributed $210 million, is a great example of the role public transport can play in getting Auckland moving.

“It enables buses to bypass traffic on the Northern Motorway which means faster trips to the city and back. This is a great alternative to having to drive into the city and Aucklanders have embraced the idea.

“Already, the Busway is beating expectations. The first stage of the project opened in 2005. It quickly resulted in 500 fewer cars being on the Northern Motorway and was used by 1 million passengers in the past year. That has meant less congestion on the motorway, as well as reducing carbon dioxide emissions from those 500 cars by 1000 tonnes a year.

“When the Busway is fully operational it is forecast to carry 250 buses an hour and take an estimated 2,400 cars off the road during peak periods. It has five stations stretching from Albany to Akoranga and at peak times there will be a bus at a station every three minutes on average.”

Helen Clark said that the project links into other public transport projects in Auckland.

“For example, passengers can take feeder bus services to Busway stations using a single ticketing system, which means they do not have to buy new tickets when changing between buses in the Busway system. This one-ticket system will eventually be extended to be used throughout the Auckland system.

“The Busway project has been a successful partnership between the Labour-led Government, government transport agencies Land Transport and Transit, and North City Council, Auckland City Council, and the Auckland Regional Transport Authority.”

Helen Clark said that the Busway was the third major road transport project to be opened in the last eight months. The others were:

- State Highway 18 Greenhithe Motorway linking the North Shore with Waitakere City.
- Esmonde Interchange which improved connections onto the Northern Motorway and was also essential to the completion of the Busway.

“Other major projects are underway, including the Northern Motorway extension from Orewa to Puhoi which is due for completion next year, and sections of the Western Ring Route between Albany and Manukau,” Helen Clark said.

ENDS

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